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Wall Township Speedway sets inaugural schedule

By Don Wilno, Auto Racing Writer

Published in the Asbury Park Press 1/01/02

Wall Township Speedway's inaugural season will begin two weeks prior to Wall Stadium's traditional opening night. The speedway will operate the usual open-house practices two weeks before the annual first Saturday of April opening, but include purse-paying races. The preseason races will be held at 2 p.m. March 23 and 30, according to Thomas E. Mauser, member/manager of the new ownership team.

"There's nothing worse than burning up tires and wasting gas," said Mauser, who said the open practice will be free and only a nominal pit fee will be charged for those staying to race.

The regular points season will begin on April 6, a night dedicated to the founders of Wall Stadium, Jennie and Thomas Nicol. All racing divisions -- modified, pro stock, street stocks, Legends and trucks -- will run Jennie and Tom Nicol Memorial races. Points races for modifieds will be increased from 30 to 35 laps under the new management -- Timothy H. Shinn, J. Fletcher Creamer Jr., Joseph M. Sanzari and Mauser and the first-prize purse doubled to $2,000. The length of the modified races was increased at Shinn's urging.

"Why five more laps? Because it means a lot to the outcome of the race," said Shinn, Wall. "Thirty laps is just not enough."

Shinn also hopes to see better racing with extended modified races, always a fan favorite. Modifieds will run two 150-lap races: the July 20 Garden State Classic and the 29th Turkey Derby, which had been three races of 50 laps. Also on the schedule is the third annual 76-lap Marian D. O'Rorke Memorial, dedicated to Wall Stadium's longtime office manager, who lost a courageous fight to cancer January 1999. Mauser has also added a 100-lap Sunoco Race of Champions qualifier Sunday, June 2 and the New York/Pennsylvania racing series' final points race, a 150-lap feature, Sunday, October 20.

"We're very excited having those two races," said Mauser, Barnegat. "They are trying to grow into this area."

Mauser, who is so busy with managing the track that he is giving up the driver's seat to Jimmy Blewett in the United Crane Motorsports modified, is "still negotiating" to bring no less than two NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series races to the track this year. "I'm looking for a final decision by the end of January," Mauser said.

If he is unsuccessful in securing the tour races, "it's possible we're going to promote our own two modified shows instead," he said. Mauser is entertaining a second visit from NASCAR officials on Thursday. Currently, NASCAR has no sanctioned track in the state since Flemington Speedway closed two years ago.

He is also looking forward to working with Wall Township officials with the upgrades the new ownership team has planned for the track on Route 34. Good news to neighbors of the track: The speedway plans to complete its weekly Saturday night show by 10:30 p.m.

Mauser hopes to move into the former offices of Wall Stadium by mid-January. In the interim, he's working out of the United Crane Motorsports office in Kenilworth (telephone 908-258-1045), adjacent to Shinn's United Crane Rentals Inc. offices. He's also looking forward to meeting with past track employees, "looking to expand all avenues of my staff," he said. Mauser said he has not hired a pit steward yet to replace Tom O'Rorke, who retired after a distinguished career of over 30 years.

There are no major rules changes pending for the speedway, only minor ones, "mostly safety items," he said. "My motto is: If it can't be checked, it can't be a rule." He confirmed that as many as 11 modifieds are coming back to the track or are moving up from other divisions, a list he won't be able to announce until he gets into the speedway office shortly. He expects more to return to the track, too. "I've never been so excited in my whole life," Mauser said, in anticipation of the speedway's opening.

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